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Wind gusts blow out century-old windows at Sycamore library

Fundraising underway for 114-year-old structure

SYCAMORE – Wind gusts of 45 mph. Original windows installed 114 years ago. Turns out, the upstairs windows of the historical wing of the Sycamore Public Library were overmatched.

The gusts blew in the windows shortly after the library board meeting about 7:15 p.m. Tuesday night, as Kim Halsey, adult services manager, witnessed from inside the building.

The library’s director, Monica Dombrowski, said the board ironically was discussing replacing the windows minutes before it adjourned.

“And then Kim saw the windows flapping in the wind,” she said.

An impressive structure, the towering, gorgeous two-story facade, is a keystone, Dombrowski said.

“It’s a jewel, that part of the building, and we’re proud to have a Carnegie building,” Dombrowski said. “That’s the view people have in their mind when you say the Sycamore Library.”

She said Jeff Keicher, who was sworn in Wednesday in Springfield as state representative of the 70th District, said the state could grant up to $75,000 toward the project. If the grant comes through, the windows could be fixed by June 30.

Dombrowski said $25,000 already has been set aside for the project, which could cost $80,000 to $100,000.

She said a Coins for Carnegie Drive has been set up and that patrons can donate at the library.

“This might teach children, ‘You might only have 4 cents, but it can create change,’ ” she said.

An all-you-can-eat BBQ dinner also is planned for 4 to 8 p.m. March 1 at the VFW, 121 S. California St., and proceeds will go toward the project, Dombrowski said.

Any proceeds that exceed the window replacement will go toward other repairs to the building, which was built in 1905. Paint is peeling off the entrance, and tiles are falling off the roof, Dombrowski said.

“There are many building projects at hand here,” she said.

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